South Philly man finds racial propaganda on his car windshield

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The propaganda was a business card for The Knights Party, a group closely associated with the Ku Klux Klan, which sought to recruit members.

Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson held a press conference at the corner of 16th and Kater streets Thursday afternoon to discuss KKK propaganda that was allegedly placed on the windshield of Graduate Hospital resident Malik Upshur’s car. “It is extremely concerning and disheartening to me, as the district councilperson and a person of color who lives in South Philadelphia, to realize the KKK could be active in neighborhoods I represent,” he said.

City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson held a news conference at the corner of 16th and Kater streets Thursday afternoon to discuss KKK propaganda that was allegedly placed on the windshield of Graduate Hospital resident Malik Upshur’s car. According to Johnson, Upshur is the only black resident on the block. Upshur said that his car was the only car that had propaganda placed on it.

“For me, it was totally upsetting and disgusting to discover that there are hate groups in this particular beautiful neighborhood known as the Graduate Hospital area, which I have grown up in as a young man,” Johnson said. “Today, we wanted to come out here and put forth a united front to denounce this particular action.”

The propaganda was a business card for The Knights Party, a group closely associated with the Ku Klux Klan, which sought to recruit members.

“We stand here today united in Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s district to denounce this act and to really speak out against all acts of hate and violence that are happening throughout the city,” saud Rue Landau, executive director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. “Acts of hate and bias send fear throughout communities.”

According to Landau, 192 incidents of hate and bias throughout the city have been reported to her office. She said that 107 of those incidents are confirmed.

Landau said that these types of racial incidents are more common in the Northeast and the Northwest than in South Philly. However, the incident involving Upshur took place two blocks from where alleged racial graffiti was reported last month on Meek Mill’s grandmother’s home.

“I’m sorry [about] what this young man had to go through,” said Rodney Muhammad, president of Philadelphia’s NAACP chapter. “In the 21st century in a city like Philadelphia [that’s] called the City of Brotherly Love, where hatred still exists on too many levels, we’re trying to make this a better city. And it’s going to take all of the citizens here no matter what color you are to join in to say we won’t tolerate this kind of thing. There’s a better way to handle our disagreements. There’s a better way to handle our differences. There’s a better way for us to build bridges rather than walls.”

“It is extremely concerning and disheartening to me, as the district councilperson and a person of color who lives in South Philadelphia, to realize the KKK could be active in neighborhoods I represent,” the councilman said. “Just the presence of the card brings to mind violence, makes residents feel uneasy, and stokes tensions in gentrifying neighborhoods — which I suppose is the point. While the distribution of this literature is not illegal, given the violent history of the organization, I believe it is dangerous and highly inappropriate.”

“I’ve been living in this neighborhood for 40 years,” said Upshur. “My grandmother owns this house in the middle of the street. She’s 94 years old. This is the first time I’ve seen something like this. I never thought in my lifetime that I would experience something like this.”

Landau encouraged residents to report incidents like these to the city’s Commission on Human Relations.

“Whether it’s legal or illegal speech, it doesn’t matter,” she said, “If you see graffiti, please report it to us. If you see recruiting fliers or intimidation fliers, please report it to us and absolutely if you see any incidents of vandalism or violence.”

To reach out to the commission, call 215–686–2856.